Stephen Hendry romped into the Crucible quarter-finals with a brilliant display against Ding Junhui and insisted: “I’m only here for the trophy.”
The seven-time champion powered to a 13-10 victory over Chinese cueman Ding, winning five of seven frames in tonight’s final session.
And the 40-year-old Scot, who claims age means nothing, believes he can grasp Betfred.com World Championship glory this year, a decade after landing his last title in Sheffield.
Hendry said: “Vindication will only come by lifting the trophy.
“That’s all I’m here for.
“That’s the only thing that gives me real pleasure.
“Whether I win it or not is another matter, but that’s all I’m here for, to win it.”
He and Ding had been level at 4-4 after the opening session yesterday, and could again not be separated in the first eight frames today.
But when they returned tonight Hendry was at his imperious best, winning the first three frames and making a crowd-pleasing break of 140 to boot.
That matched the highest of the championship so far, with Ronnie O’Sullivan having also made a 140 in his opening match.
Hendry said: “It was a fantastic match and I’m delighted to win and I’m delighted by how I played throughout the match, especially tonight.
“I came out tonight and it was as good as I’ve played this season.
“There’s no doubt that when Ding is in the balls and break-building he’s as good as anyone that has ever played, so it’s a fantastic win for me.”
Hendry will spend tomorrow evening at Old Trafford, watching Barclays Premier League title-chasing Manchester United in action against Tottenham, as a guest of the World Championship sponsors.
“That’ll be nice. I’ll go there and relax,” Hendry said.